Pattaya’s ladies put on the Ritz for Melbourne Cup

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They may not have been able to attend the Melbourne Cup in person, but members of the Pattaya International Ladies Club still got to show off their most elegant, eccentric and crazy hats like the women that attend Australia’s prestigious horse race.

PILC members got together Nov. 3 at the Pullman Hotel G to show their own hat creations and watch the race live on TV. They also enjoyed prize raffles, champagne and snacks.

Young winner Michelle Payne after the race on her horse Prince of Penzance.

Club President Helle Rantsen, wearing a fancy hat herself, welcomed all the guests and delighted in meeting some of the women’s spouses. She thanked all of them for their support, since all proceeds from the event went toward PILC welfare projects.

The atmosphere tensed as the race started. Everyone looked excitedly at the TV screen … and then nothing. Wails went up as the Internet stream faltered. But soon the computer powering the screen came back online and all was well after just a few minutes delay.

Irmeli Pietilä (right) was the only one to predict the winning horse and Nancy Beadsburn (middle) took second place. Both received their prizes from PILC president Helle Rantsen.

Only Irmeli Pietilä from Finland had picked winning horse No. 19, the Prince of Penzance, which was bred in New Zealand. The jockey was a young Australian woman, Michelle Payne and became the first female jockey ever to win the Melbourne Cup.

Helle Rantsen (right) gives the prize to Elfi Seitz for the most unique and beautiful hat-creation.

The nicest and most creative hat was chosen by a jury with the prize going to Elfi Seitz for her handmade creation.

The most beautiful outfit went to French-Canadian Marie-Nicole Roy, who spends a few months in Thailand each year.

The party continued even after the horses left the track, with women enjoying more champagne and conversation.

Marie-Nicole Roy from Canada (2nd left) takes her prize for the best outfit from Helle Rantsen. In the back some of the other ladies who competed.